The Mineral Area College Board of Trustees said “goodbye” to a long-time board member when it met in regular session April 18 in the VanHerck Boardroom on the Park Hills campus.
After having served 18 years on the board, Harvey Faircloth decided it was time to retire from the board and chose not to run for reelection to the board in the April 4 election.
Board President Scott Sikes offered an emotional farewell to a man he recalled having known and respected for years. Fighting back tears, he said, “Harvey and I go several years back — I officiated basketball [with him] when I was in high school.”
After recalling two humorous experiences with Faircloth through the years, Sikes returned to the subject of the veteran trustee’s time on the board.
“I tell you what, in the years that I’ve been on the board with Harvey — I’ve been on since ’09, and I think he has been on since ’04 — I admire Harvey so much. He’s very dedicated to the Central School District, and he’s been very dedicated to the Mineral Area College, and he has been a great mentor to me. I look to him for a lot of things. I always want to know his comments, his thoughts. We’re losing a great man — not that we have not gained one — but we’re losing a great individual and he has been very professional. He’s been a great mentor and most of all, Harvey, you’ve been a great friend.”
As Sikes presented Faircloth with a plaque recognizing him for his years of service to the community college, the room broke out in applause.
After the meeting ended, Faircloth recalled his time on the board and said, “I’m going to miss it. I really will, but I think I’ve reached the age where it’s time for somebody else to step in. It’s so exciting to see what’s happening here on campus, and I’m going to miss watching — no, I’m going to still watch it. I already warned them I’m gonna’ be here to watch — but yeah, it’s a great thing — and with the new leadership and all the new people who are coming on board and the old ones that are here, it seems like something happens every day to remind me that MAC’s the best, and yeah, I’ll miss it.”
Along with the business of bidding a fond farewell to a long-time colleague, the board swore in incumbent Camille Nations and first-term trustee Chris Hulsey, who won six-year terms in the April election representing Subdivision 2. Following the swearing-in ceremony, Sikes, presented a motion to approve the slate of officers for the next two years: Lisa Umfleet, incoming president; Camille Nations, vice president; Mit Landrum, secretary; Alan Wells, treasurer; Sikes, treasurer pro-tem; and Chris Hulsey, member. The board unanimously approved the motion.
Later in the meeting, the trustees approved construction of a new automotive building with all voting in favor of the motion except for Mit Landrum, who abstained.
Prior to the vote, MAC president, Dr. Joe Gilgour said, “The governor has indicated that he’s approving the MoExcel’s grant request this year for $3 million to expand another 20,000 square feet onto our [Industry and Technology Center] — which is almost done — to start the new expansion of automotive technology. It helps [Brockmiller Construction] a lot if they can just keep going right now. The building parts take so long to get that they’d like to put that order in.
“If this money were to fall through, which is very unlikely, but if it were, we would still be at the time for him to cancel the building. So, we just want to make sure we had approval from you so they can go ahead and make that motion to get started so they don’t have any downtime. I know we keep the same crews going, which will probably save money for a long time.”
Other actions included:
• Dr. Gilgour presented the Champion of Excellence Award to Jennifer Sikes, Early Childhood Education-Child Development Department chair, who came up with the idea for MAC’s new Early Learning Academy and serves as its director.
• It was reported that the school had held its first Career and Technical Education signing day April 15. Similar to MAC’s athletic signing day, the event was to recognize students who are committing to enroll in the school’s Career and Technical Education program. Every student who took part received a $500 MAC scholarship. According to Gilgour, the scholarships awarded at the event totaled around $26,000. He added that the school intends for this to become an annual event.
• It was announced that MAC Athletic Director Jim Gerwitz was named Athletic Director of the Year last week by the National Junior College Athletic Association. Also, Danielle Basler, executive director of college communications, and her team received “silver” in a nationwide contest for the capital campaign they created for the school’s 100th anniversary.
• Law Enforcement graduation will take place at 6 p.m., May 11. The location for the ceremony is at the Christian Church but may change to an on-campus location. Other upcoming events include commencement at 7 p.m. May 12 in the field house; ADN pining ceremony at 7 p.m. in Centene Center; Trustee and Executive Leadership Conference at Camden on the Lake, June 20-22; Practical Nursing pinning ceremony at 5 p.m., July 21 in the school’s Fine Arts Theatre; and the MCCA annual convention, Nov. 8-10 in Kansas City.
• In his MAC Foundation report, Kevin Thurman, executive director of development, announced that the foundation golf tournament will take place May 2 and 3. Last year, the event brought out a record 71 teams. With two weeks left to sign up, there are already 83 teams signed up for this year’s tournament.
• Jodi Harden gave a report on the MAC Science Fair held on campus April 14. Over 100 students representing four local schools spent the day presenting their science projects to judges, friends, family, and the community. The event ended with an awards ceremony recognizing an overall Best of Fair winner along with 1st through 3rd place and honorable mentions in five categories: Behavioral Science, Chemistry, Engineering/Math/Physics, Natural Science, and Product Testing.
• Lisa Johnson presented the Classified Staff report and Korey Byers gave the Professional Staff/Faculty Forum report.
• Items approved by the board included a second reading of Board Policy 3.55, 4.55 and 9.55 (Mentoring); renewal of the Park Hills Police Department contract, an updated MAC-Central Methodist University agreement, a new lease on the Perryville Higher Education Center, amended fees for the EMT program; a dual enrollment fee increase; and a first reading of the PTO board policy.
• Dean Julie Sheets introduced Racheal Starbird as the school’s new student engagement coordinator. She began her tenure at MAC in February, but could not meet the trustees until the board’s April meeting.
• Next month’s meeting will be held at 11 a.m. May 11 in the VanHerck Boardroom.
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-783-9667 or email@example.com